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Champlin Park holds off defending 6A champion Lakeville North

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 11/14/19, 11:00PM CST


After the Panthers narrowed the lead to seven points, the Rebels responded with a field goal and touchdown in the fourth quarter for a 31-21 victory.

Champlin Park quarterback Jaice Miller (4) ran for a key touchdown in the fourth quarter that extended the Rebels' lead to 31-14. Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com

The first half was a Champlin Park party. The second? An exercise in survival.

The Rebels rode a terrific first-half offensive performance and leaned on its defense after halftime, emerging with a 31-21 victory over defending Class 6A champion Lakeville North on Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

After doing nearly anything they wanted to do in the game’s first 24 minutes, building a 21-point lead, the Rebels found themselves trying desperately to hang on to their big lead on the second half.

“Our offense has been playing lights out,” Champlin Park coach Nick Keenan said.

Lakeville North had cut the lead to a single touchdown, 21-14, on a 10-yard burst by RaJa Nelson midway through the third quarter, putting a once-secure outcome in doubt.

“I told the guys ‘They’re here for a reason, too,'” Keenan said. “They’ve got some good players.”

Lakeville North coach Brian Vossen said, “We thought we were going to win. I think every guy on our team thought we were going to tie this thing, then punch one in and move. My biggest surprise was when that didn’t happen.”

Champlin Park’s first six possessions of the second half included five three-and-outs and an interception.

Dom Witt (19) of Champlin Park ran after a catch in the first quarter. The Rebels built a 21-0 lead in the first half and held on to earn a spot in the Class 6A Prep Bowl. Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com

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